‘Friends’ have deserted FAM, rendering the association a soft target of unfair criticism and ridicule over the national team’s struggles, the association’s chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda has complained.
Nyirenda said this in a letter to The Nation dated November 29 2013, reacting to Youth and Sports Ministry’s Principal Secretary Justin Saidi’s claims last week that he learnt through the press about FAM plans to recruit a Flames’ coach by the end of next month.
“I am not surprised that in the current state of affairs very few people would want to be associated with the Flames. Now, we have a few or no friends and it is not surprising the blame is always on FAM so much so that others have even ridiculed us as amateurs who have no plans for the Flames and football development,” Nyirenda says in the letter.
He challenges that perceptions that FAM lacks vision are unfounded as the association has a strategic plan and long-term plans to qualify the Flames for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, but the stumbling block was inadequate government funding.
“We have swept some issues under the carpet for so long, [but] sometimes we need to let the cat out of the bag. While FAM does not want any verbal tirade or Tom and Jerry type of relationship with the ministry, we would like to clear the facts that on November 8 2013 I wrote the PS and the ministry informing them of our plans to recruit a new head coach for the Flames by end January 2013,” he further explains.
Adds Nyirenda: “In the same letter, we requested the ministry to allow us to proceed engaging the Flames and the two junior national teams to participate in CAF competitions next year.
“We submitted budgets for the three teams and the PS phoned me to acknowledge receipt of the letter and requested me to consider one junior team than to engage both. This I did and I was amused [hearing] that we never informed the ministry of our plans.”
Saidi on Monday refused to give a yes or no answer when asked if he received a letter from FAM seeking backing over the hiring of a coach for the Flames who are without a coach after Tom Saintfiet’s exit as interim coach.
“What I received was just a blind copy seeking extra budgetary support, but on issues of a coach, the procedure is that FAM discusses with Sports Council when they agree, then the Sports Council consults us. And that has not be done,” said Saidi while being elusive when pressed if he acknowledged receipt of FAM’s letter on hiring a coach.
Saidi’s latest position speaks volume of the politics of football as Sports Council executive secretary George Jana, too, said issues of recruiting a coach are transacted directly between FAM and the ministry.
Meanwhile, FAM has shelved plans to advertise the post of the national team coach.
Nyirenda said there are other issues that need to be sorted out before the advert is flighted.
“We want to discuss with government as a courtesy since they are the ones who provide the perks,” said Nyirenda.
Saidi said while discussions are yet to begin, FAM has now taken the proper route.